Former Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James, who is still among the best players in the history of the franchise, is looking to take current Colts’ starting running back Trent Richardson under his wing.
James had this to say about Richardson’s lack of success after he was traded to Indianapolis from the Cleveland Browns during the 2013 season. He also pointed out how he might be able to help Richardson moving forward (via ESPN.com).
Last year, when [Richardson] got here during the middle of the season, it wasn’t fair to him with a lot of stuff that was going on,” James said. “So I told [owner] Mr. [Jim] Irsay I would come up here during training camp and kind of talk to him and give him perspective on everything he is going through and help him as much as I can.
James brings up a great point here. Impact skill-position players are not usually traded in the middle of the season. And when they are, there is a tremendous learning curve as it relates to learning a new system and getting comfortable in a new city.
Richardson racked up over 1,300 total yards and 12 touchdowns as a rookie for the Browns in 2012. In a surprising move, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson traded for the former No. 5 overall pick after just two games last season. The results were not great for the running back and his new team. Richardson put up just 458 rushing yards in 14 games, while averaging a lackluster 2.9 yards per attempt.
This led many to indicate that the Alabama product was nothing more than a bust. But as James points out, last season might not have been a great barometer of what Richardson can bring to the table.
It was unfair to judge him because it is two different systems,” said James, who retired with 12,246 rushing yards. “The terminology is totally different and he was just kind of thrown out there. You can’t really get an assessment because there is so much going on for him personally and the things you have to go through in order to be good in this league.
The fact that James is looking to mentor Richardson could be absolutely huge for the Colts young running back. He is going to be relied on to provide some sense of balance on offense for quarterback Andrew Luck, who is asked to do more than almost every other signal caller in the NFL. If Richardson is able to return to 2012 form, it will go a long way in the Colts’ title hopes.
Richardson, who put up just 13 yards on five rush attempts in the Colts preseason opener, has been a strong performer in camp thus far.
It's been a strong second week of #ColtsCamp for Trent Richardson.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) August 6, 2014
It’s now up to him to bring that success to live-game action this fall. If he does, the Colts will be in a much better place. If not, skeptics will continue to question his ability to be a decent starting running back in the NFL.